Q&A: Tim Hunt Of Hedwig and the Angry Inch

The <em>Hedwig and the Angry Inch</em> diva dishes on managing his manly makeup and strutting the stage in six-inch heels.

Tim Hunt rocks a starring role as Hedwig, a gender-bending wannabe rock goddess, in Zach & Zack’s rendition of the Broadway hit Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Epilogue Players Theatre starting Friday.

You played straitlaced Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show at the Athenaeum in 2015, but you also strutted the stage as a drag queen in La Cage aux Folles in Carmel this fall and now as Hedwig, a transsexual punk rocker. Which type of role do you prefer?
If you’d asked me five or seven years ago if I’d ever see myself playing a role like this, I would’ve said no way—it’s so far removed from anything I’ve ever tried. But in the past year, I’ve played a pretty broad spectrum. I did a drag queen in La Cage aux Folles. I’ve played Edward Rochester, who is the epitome of the masculine, chauvinistic straight male, in Jane Eyre. And I’ve played a snail. So I appreciate having the opportunity to play such a broad array of characters.

Where did you play a snail?
Actors Theatre of Indiana—I was doing A Year with Frog and Toad, which was a Broadway musical several years ago and is based on the Frog and Toad children’s book.

What’s the most challenging part of playing Hedwig?
It’s the most challenging role I’ve ever had just because the extremes of the character are so far removed from anything I’ve ever had to experience personally. And you’re on stage the entire time, so just the amount of stamina and focus it takes.

Let’s talk about your costume: is it handmade?
It’s all handmade by [costume designer] Beck Jones. He made the yellow Hedwig jumpsuit and hand-painted the designs on it. And he hand-painted the lips on the front of the corset as well.

So is the corset, like, a legit corset?
It is a legit corset, yes. It ties in the back and hooks in the front.

Is that the most painful part of your Hedwig getup?
No, probably the heels. I mean, I’m a six-foot-tall man wearing six-inch heels; I don’t know that my frame was exactly made for that type of shoe. The shoes fit, it’s just that they’re not necessarily constructed for male feet. But I don’t know that they would be comfortable on anyone.

Yitzhak and Hedwig, played by Kate Homan and Tim Hunt, respectively.

So what’s the secret to walking in them?
Practice not falling down and try not to pay attention to the pain in your feet.

How long does it take to get that face?
The makeup takes at least an hour. I had help from assistant makeup designer Andrew Elliot for the photo shoot, but eventually I’m going to learn to do it on my own.

I had to do drag makeup when I was in La Cage aux Folles at Actors Theatre of Indiana this fall, but that was a lot heavier; more like drag-queen fabulous. This is a little different. It’s not quite as showy and is more of a punk rock version of drag makeup, because Hedwig’s not a drag queen. She’s a transsexual woman, so she’s glamorous in her own quirky kind of way.

How long does the makeup take to remove?
It’s hard to get off because you have to put so much on to cover up the eyebrows. And I find glitter on my face for days—I’m at work the next morning finding little specks of glitter. It takes a lot of makeup wipes and then a good scrubbing with soap and a washcloth.

What roles do you have lined up after Hedwig?
I’m going to be doing A Year with Frog and Toad again in March—we’re taking the production to the Honeywell Center at Wabash—and then a remount of Jane Eyre in April.

What’s the most surprising part about life as an actor that audiences wouldn’t expect?
A lot of people who work as actors also have other jobs. I work full-time in finance.

In a musical shakedown between Dr. Frank-N-Furter (the cross-dressing baddie from The Rocky Horror Show) and Hedwig, who would win?
I could see them both playing pretty dirty —that might be a draw. They both have really hard exteriors, but they’re both pretty broken and vulnerable on the inside. It could go either way.

Tickets to Hedwig and the Angry Inch are available for $30 here. The musical runs at Epilogue Players Theatre (1849 N. Alabama St., next to Footlite Musicals) for eight performances January 5–14.